Eight and a Half by Eleven for Drexel

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Presented at the E-Learning Conference at Drexel University on March 25, 2010.

Presented at the E-Learning Conference at Drexel University on March 25, 2010.

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  • I’m a tech coach in three NYC public schools. I’m also a design student at Parsons, where I’m studying for an MFA in design + technology. Interested in educational media.
  • I began working at IS 339, a large public middle school in the Bronx, which – thanks to a large grant – launched a 1:1 laptop program in 2007. I managed that program in its first year, and it’s gotten to the point now where PBS Frontline put together a 7 minute piece called “How Google Saved A School”. This was part of Digital Nation, a documentary that examined how technology has changed the way we live.
  • I began working at IS 339, a large public middle school in the Bronx, which – thanks to a large grant – launched a 1:1 laptop program in 2007. I managed that program in its first year, and it’s gotten to the point now where PBS Frontline put together a 7 minute piece called “How Google Saved A School”. This was part of Digital Nation, a documentary that examined how technology has changed the way we live.
  • The problem is, I don’t really believe this ‘How Google Saved A School” narrative. I don’t believe that technology is inherently good, that it can save things, that the School of One – pictured here – is truly one of the best inventions of 2009 (as Time Magazine called it).
  • In fact, I’m beginning to see a strong tendency to embrace things like Sites for Teachers!! or School of One, or even BrainPop, as platforms that do the teaching for us. This worries me, because we are, each of us, educators – and it’s our job to figure out how to inspire, how to draw out curiosity, how to instill a sense of social justice, etc. We can choose to put pixels – digital technology – to this purpose, but I don’t believe it can do it without us.
  • Here’s a specific example of what I’m talking about. When we look at PowerPoint as a way of doing book reports, we’re saying that it truly is a book report. We’re asking our kids to identify the genre, the plot, the conflict. But it inspires a kind of learning that can be broken down into slides, rather than a kind of learning that can’t be expressed in bullet form.
  • So, what can be done? How can we make decisions about when technology enhances the teaching/learning process – which, of course, it can – and when it impedes it? This is a picture that illustrates how the periodic table is often taught – in groups according to family (metals/gasses/etc), all organized by weight.
  • But what if instead, we could use a social network to examine these relationships? After all, a social network is a system itself, so maybe we can use that to explore the relationships between these families? Each of our students could adopt the identity of an element, and could navigate the social network in character. In my opinion, it’s not necessary to know the atomic weight of magnesium, but it is important to understand how elements interact/bond with each other.
  • Of course, this could be moved into any subject that examines systems. We could use it to look at the relationships between people during the Revolutionary War, for example. This network was designed using Ning, a closed version of Facebook that allows users to adopt “fake” identities within a closed system.
  • And, a third example is of an English teacher who used Ning to investigate TKAM.
  • So, then, the central question of my grad school work and this presentation is this: When does digital technology enhance the quality of teaching/learning in our classrooms, and when does it inhibit good practice? And, how can we tell the difference? These are a set of emoticons (or, stamps) that I designed with the idea that digital emoticons could be used to teach symbolism or metaphor.
  • So here’s what’s going to happen today. 1, I want to encourage you to think about a framework within which you can evaluate when technology makes sense and when it doesn’t.
  • One solution so far -

Transcript

  • 1. Christina Jenkins / @jenksbyjenks Parsons The New School for Design, MFA Design+Technology
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  • 6. http://www.cs.waikato.ac.nz/Teaching/COMP134B/projects/smartboard/smartboard2.jpg
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  • 13. Eight and a Half by Eleven examines the habits of practice that K-12 educators have developed around the use of technology in the classroom. Through a dynamic website and physical book, it proposes strategies for how to put technology to disruptive use in a way that improves on analog instruction.
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  • 17. Eight and a Half by Eleven is grounded in the work of Seymour Papert and Neil Postman.
  • 18. I encourage educators to think about a framework within which we can evaluate when technology makes sense and when it doesn’t.
  • 19. http://www. dottodotproject. org
  • 20. http://www. christinamjenkins .com Eval at @jenksbyjenks
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